Recently, as I was curious what my local municipality was using to drive their website, I did the common “View source” and did some Googling. I came across the EvoGov CMS built on Python by Evo Studios. I came across their cloud hosted platform and read something that caught my eye.
“PLUGINS ARE DEAD | After seeing WordPress (and many other PHP) plugins get hacked constantly, we decided to make something better. To end plugin madness, we built the most common applications directly into the system. This makes our platform perform better, and more safely.”
Of course, as both a WordPress supporter, and in-the-works plugin developer. This was the sort of this I just shake my head at. The competitors are going to market their stuff in whatever way they can, and sometimes that means bashing the competition. We see this all the time, like with wireless carriers(AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint). And, though I wasn’t there in person, I heard about a lot of talk on this subject at WordCamp US. I recently read a very good article on DZone that spoke to the fears that developers have of “low-code” platforms. I loved the perspective and reassurance the article presented, as I’ve seen that sort of fear even in my day job at Sprint with the introduction of tools that reduce the need for large development efforts.
Back to the point. It is important for us developers to understand that we need to adapt, grow, and change as technologies and tools change and advance. While yes there are going to be new tools that threaten the “low hanging fruit” of the needs of users, we shouldn’t be building our livelihood and businesses on the low hanging fruit alone. There are always going to be things, niche markets, that the low-code platforms will not be able to accommodate. And that is a huge selling point of WordPress. And I think part of what is driving Matt Mullenweg, and efforts like Gutenberg, is a platform that out-of-the-box can be something that meets the needs of the masses(low hanging fruit) but under the hood can be extended for those niche markets.
Are plugins dead? That is a resounding NO. What plugins are needed, or can be created, will change as the platform(i.e. WordPress) evolves, but there will always be niche markets that will need something beyond what Core doesn’t, or cannot, provide. And the same goes for “competing” platforms that try to spin the greatest asset of WordPress (i.e. plugins & themes) as a reason their platform is better. I for one would rather take on a client that needs my skills to help them with their niche if they are already using WordPress rather than spending all the effort to move them off of some closed/locked-in platform.